Glaucoma & ocular surface disease


Survey reveals ophthalmologists' concerns relating to BAK-containing eye drops and the incidence of dry eye

Key Points

Several theories have been suggested regarding the link between OSD and glaucoma, however, there is one word that consistently arises when discussing the causes of OSD in these patients - preservatives, specifically, benzalkonium chloride (BAK). This preservative is present in many glaucoma therapeutics and has been held responsible for the majority of cases of dry eye in glaucoma patients. In fact, results from the cross-sectional study indicate that the coexistence of OSD and the use of BAK-containing medications could impact vision-related quality of life in glaucoma patients.1

This is the consensus of several peer-reviewed publications, but what do the ophthalmologists in the field think?

A qualitative survey was conducted at this year's congress of the European Glaucoma Society (EGS),2 to find out. The survey showed that the concerns relating to BAK-containing eye drops and the incidence of dry eye were not limited to journals and publications, they were indeed very real.

Below, are just some of the results taken from this insightful survey.


1. E.W. Leung, et al. J. Glaucoma 2008;17:350-355.

2. R. Hitchings, et al. In search of improved glaucoma therapy. Santen-sponsored symposium; European Glaucoma Society, 2 June 2008, Berlin, Germany.

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